Ziprasidone

Sounds like 'zi-PRAS-i-done'

Easy-to-read medicine information about ziprasidone – what it is, how to take ziprasidone safely and possible side effects.

Type of medicine Also called
  • Antipsychotic
  • Belongs to a group of medicines known as atypical antipsychotics 
  • Zusdone®
  • Zeldox®

What is ziprasidone?

  • Ziprasidone is used to treat some types of mental illness such as schizophrenia.
  • It does not cure this condition, but will help to ease the symptoms and will help to support your recovery. It works by helping to restore the balance of certain natural chemicals in the brain (neurotransmitters).
  • Ziprasidone belongs to a group of medicines called antipsychotics. Read more about antipsychotics.
  • Ziprasidone is available as capsules.

Dose

  • The usual dose of ziprasidone (capsule) is 40 milligrams twice a day.
  • Some people may require higher doses.
  • Always take your ziprasidone exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much ziprasidone to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions.

How to take ziprasidone

  • Take ziprasidone twice a day, in the morning and evening. Try taking your ziprasidone doses at the same times each day.
  • Swallow your ziprasidone capsules with a glass of water. 
  • It is best to take your ziprasidone dose with or just after food.
  • Limit or avoid drinking alcohol while you are taking ziprasidone. Alcohol may increase your chance of side effects such as drowsiness.
  • If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember that day. But, if it is nearly time for your next dose, just take the next dose at the right time. Do not take double the dose.
  • Keep taking ziprasidone every day. It usually take a few weeks to start working and it can take several months before you feel the full benefits.
  • Do not stop taking ziprasidone suddenly as your symptoms may return if stopped too early; speak to your doctor or nurse before stopping.

Monitoring

Ziprasidone may cause changes in your blood sugar level, your cholesterol level and in your heart function. To keep an eye out for these effects, your doctor will monitor your physical health. You will have your weight measured regularly. You may be sent for tests such as blood tests to monitor your blood, kidneys, liver, cholesterol and glucose levels. You may also have your blood pressure measured and be required to undergo an ECG test to assess your heart rate.       

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, ziprasidone can cause unwanted side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often unwanted side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Feeling sleepy, drowsy, or tired
  • It can last a few hours after the dose.  
  • Don’t drive or operate machinery.
  • Ask your doctor if you can take you medicine at a different time.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol.
  • Feeling shaky and restless (cannot sit still)
  • Eyes or tongue may move on their own
 
  • It is not dangerous but a well known side effect.  
  • If it is troublesome, tell your doctor.
  • Headache 
  • Try paracetamol. Check that this can be taken with any other medicines you may take.
  • Feeling dizzy
  • This usually only happens when you start your medication. It should wear off in a few weeks.
  • Try not to stand up too quickly. You are at risk of falls. Try and lie or sit down if you feel it coming on.
  • If you feel dizzy, don't drive
 
  • Problems falling asleep or staying asleep (called insomnia)
 
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome — Ask your doctor if you can take your medicine at a different time or reduce the dose.
  • Muscle weakness
  • Discuss with your doctor.  It should wear off after a couple of weeks.
  • Feeling anxious or nervous (being more on edge)
  • Try and relax by taking deep breaths.
  • Wear loose fitting clothes. 

Interactions

Ziprasidone interacts with a number of important medications and herbal supplements so check with your doctor or pharmacist.

Learn more

The following links provide further information on ziprasidone

Zeldox Medsafe Consumer Information (NZ)

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Nicola Rowbottom, Pharmacist, South Canterbury Last reviewed: 12 Oct 2016